U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday at least 25 Americans were killed by Hamas terrorists in the barbaric attacks that targeted unarmed civilians inside Israel on Saturday.
Blinken, who is in Israel, vowed American support to Israel as its military continued airstrikes in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in preparation for a likely ground operation in Gaza.
“You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourselves, but as long as America exists you will never have to,” Blinken said after meeting with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. “We will always be there by your side.”
The Israeli military said it is currently targeting Hamas’ senior military and political leaders, whom it blames for the weekend attack. Its missiles are aimed at Hamas infrastructure embedded among the civilian population of Gaza.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Israel continues to climb. More than 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians, have been murdered by Hamas, and Gaza officials say at least 1,200 people have died in the airstrikes. The terror group attempts to hide among Palestinian civilians as it continues to fire rockets into southern Israel.
Some of the Americans Killed in the Israel-Hamas War
According to ABC News, 32-year-old Hayim Katsman was the first American citizen victim who was identified. He had been living in Israel. His mother told the outlet she found out he had been killed when Hamas militants broke into his apartment.
Other Americans confirmed dead, include Lotan Abir. Abir, 24, was from Utah and had been living in Israel for nine months. He was attending a music event near the Gaza border where Hamas’ attacks began.
Deborah Mathias, another American who was living in Israel, was killed along with her husband, Shlomi, their teenage son Rotem confirmed to ABC News. The 16-year-old told the outlet when Hamas attacked, he and his parents tried to barricade their doors with furniture. When the terrorists opened fire, Rotem said his parents covered him with their bodies to protect him from the bullets.
This still image was provided by ABC News/Good Morning America shows. Rotem Mathias, 16, right, is interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America at a hospital in southern Israel on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (ABC News/Good Morning America via AP)
“The terrorists shot open the door,” Rotem Mathias, a dual Israeli-American citizen, told ABC News in an interview that aired Wednesday on Good Morning America.
“They throw a grenade or something that exploded,” he continued. “The last thing my dad said is he lost his arm and then my mom died on top of me.”
According to CNN, Daniel Ben Senior, 34, an Israeli-American, was also killed. She was born in Los Angeles and lived most of her life in Israel, according to her father Jacob Ben Senior. She had been missing since Hamas attacked the music festival Saturday near Gaza. He told the outlet he was informed by authorities his daughter had been killed.
Israel: Hamas Kidnapped More Than 160 People
As CBN News reported on Thursday, Israel estimates Hamas kidnapped more than 160 hostages from numerous nations, including Israelis. Women, children, and even babies are among the hostages.
President Joe Biden told a roundtable of Jewish leaders that he is “doing a lot” to rescue those Americans held hostage by Hamas, stating, “We want to make it real clear we’re working on every aspect of the hostage crisis in Israel, including deploying experts to advise and assist with recovery efforts … I have not given up hope of bringing these folks home.”
Hamas Victimized Citizens from 36 Nations
Citizens from 36 nations are missing, have been murdered, or are among the hostages who have been abducted by Hamas.
The family of Itai Chen, an Israeli-American soldier missing since a Hamas surprise attack on the Gaza border, attend a news conference by U.S. citizens whose relatives are missing in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) International spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus confirmed to CBN on Wednesday that many of the Israeli hostages hold dual citizenships.
“The complexity of the current situation is unprecedented,” the IDF lieutenant colonel said. “Never before have we faced such a situation where so many Israelis are at the hands or at the mercy of a ruthless terror organization.”
“By the way, many of the hostages are dual nationals — Americans, Brits, Germans, French, Italians, Brazilians, and many other nationalities. Some are not even Israelis. There are Thai workers that were taken, and abducted for, I don’t know what reason,” Conricus added.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Wednesday that “several children” from France appear to have been kidnapped from Israel. Speaking to the French Senate, she said the government is in touch with the families of the children concerned. Among those believed kidnapped is a 12-year-old boy named Eitan who had been living in the Nir Oz kibbutz, according to family members who have spoken to French media.
France has said that 11 French citizens are confirmed dead in the fighting and 20 are unaccounted for, including several believed held hostage.
Britain’s top diplomat has arrived in Israel to express “unwavering solidarity” with the country following the attacks by Hamas. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will meet survivors and senior Israeli officials “to outline U.K. support for Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Sharon Lifschitz, left, and Noam Sagi pose for photographers after a press conference of British children of Israeli hostages at a hotel in London, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
The British government has said 10 or more U.K. citizens are dead or missing after the attacks on southern Israel.
The Colombian government reported the first death of one of its citizens in Israel – a woman with dual Colombian and Israeli citizenship. The Foreign Ministry said in a press release that Ivonne Rubio was with her boyfriend at the music festival in southern Israel that was attacked by Hamas. Rubio’s boyfriend, identified as Antonio Macías, also a Colombian citizen, is still missing.
Hamas Committed Mass Atrocities Against Civilians
As CBN News reported, after a three-day battle, IDF forces took back the village of Be’eri. Major General Itai Veruv described what happened, saying, “People that were captured, their hands were locked, and someone kills them, children in the same room, and someone came and killed them all. Fifteen girls, teenagers, were put in the same room, and they threw a hand grenade, and it’s over. This is a massacre. This is a pogrom.”
Israeli leaders compared Hamas to ISIS and found an ISIS flag in a kibbutz taken over by Hamas terrorists.
In the Israeli community of Kfar Aza, soldiers discovered what’s been described as a “massacre.”
Maj. Gen. Itai Veruv, who led the three-day campaign to retake Kfar Aza after Hamas militants invaded, said, “You see the babies, the mothers, the fathers in their bedrooms, in their protection rooms, and how the terrorists killed them. It’s not a war, it’s not a battlefield. It’s a massacre. It’s a terror activity.”
Maj. Doron Spielman, Israel Defense Forces spokesman, added, “Who could do this? They must have shed their humanity, and what is left is something inhuman. To see baby carriages with bullet holes and blood? Who goes up to a baby and kills a baby? Who kills a mother? I see the bodies in their homes.”
Stephanie Hallet, an American diplomat and the current chargé d’affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, posted a video to the social media platform X on Wednesday confirming the stories about Hamas atrocities are true.
In the video, she said she and a senior defense official came down to the Gaza periphery “to bear witness to the atrocities that were committed here on Saturday. And it’s uh….really unbelievable,” Hallet said as she regained her composure while speaking. “As a mother and just as a human being to see and to know what happened here is really important. We’ve been here. We’ve seen it and it is really evil. And we stand with Israel, all of us. We stand with Israel.”
Today I came to bear witness to the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists. The United States stands with Israel. pic.twitter.com/rBVSD5XxU2
— Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Stephanie Hallett (@USAmbIsrael) October 11, 2023